Encyclopedia of Psychopharmacology

Living Edition
| Editors: Ian P. Stolerman, Lawrence H. Price

Pavlovian Fear Conditioning

Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27772-6_161-2



Pavlovian fear conditioning is a behavioral paradigm in which an initially neutral cue (the “Conditioned Stimulus”, CS), usually a tone, is paired with an aversive stimulus (the “Unconditioned Stimulus”, US), usually a footshock, that elicits a fear unconditional response (UR). As a result of this pairing, subjects form an associative memory between the CS and US. Following training, when presented with the CS alone, the subject will exhibit a fear-conditioned response (CR), which is a defensive behavior related to, but not identical with, the UR. Aside from fear of the tone (“Cued Fear”), subjects also come to fear the environmental context associated with shock administration (“Contextual Fear”). In the standard paradigm, rodents are trained in fear-conditioning chambers and receive 1–10 tone-shock pairings over the course of 5–10 min. The rodents are returned to the conditioning...

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychology and Program in NeurosciencesUniversity of California, San DiegoSan DiegoUSA